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Ivica Rajić transferred to serve sentence in Spain

Press Release
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)

The Hague, 13 April 2007

Ivica Rajić transferred to serve sentence in Spain


Ivica Rajić, former unit commander of the Bosnian Croat Army, was transferred today to Spain to serve his 12 year prison sentence.

Rajić pleaded guilty to charges for his involvement in the October 1993 attack on the central Bosnian village of Stupni Do, near the town of Vareš.  He commanded the attack which resulted in the murder of 31 Bosnian Muslim civilians, including women, elderly and children, as well as the destruction of the village.

On 23 October 1993, the head of the HVO Main Staff ordered Ivica Rajić “to sort out the situation in Vareš showing no mercy towards anyone”. On the same day, Ivica Rajić ordered HVO forces under his command to round up military-aged Muslim men in Vareš town and to detain them. As a result, based on Ivica Rajić’s order, HVO forces rounded up more than two hundred and fifty Bosnian Muslim men and detained them in two schools, the “Ivan Goran Kovačić” and “Vladimir Nazor” schools. During the process of rounding up these men, the HVO commanders and soldiers entered houses, abused their inhabitants and robbed them of their valuables. HVO soldiers also beat and abused male Bosnian Muslim detainees.

On the same day the forces under Rajić’s control attacked the village of Stupni Do and wilfully killed at least 31 Bosnian Muslim civilians. During the attack on Stupni Do, one group of Bosnian Muslims, including two women and three children, who tried to flee from the attack on the village were murdered in front of their house. Two elderly women, one of whom was an invalid, were found burned inside a house and seven members of the same family, two men, three women and two children aged two and three years old, were found burned inside their shelter.

Twelve years later, on 26 October 2005, Ivica Rajić pleaded guilty to these charges. During his sentencing hearing in April 2006, Rajić stated “I should like to apologise to the families of the people who have suffered, expressing my full sympathies and my regrets for the loss of their nearest and dearest. (…) All those victims deserve the truth and justice, and my cooperation with the Prosecution is a contribution to the establishment of the truth and the acceptance of my responsibility.”

The Trial Chamber took Rajić’s statement into consideration among other factors and sentenced him to 12 years’ imprisonment. Neither the prosecution nor the defence appealed the sentence as it was in the suggested range.

Further information on the Ivica Rajić case can be found on our website at http://www.icty.org/x/cases/rajic/cis/en/cis_rajic.pdf.

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